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Behind the Bar: Jen Altman’s Hot Buttered Bourbon

by Kristina Gill

This week, to send you off into the holidays, we have our first bourbon recipe by photographer Jen Altman for her own version of Hot Buttered Bourbon. There’s not much more I can add to that! It’s such an easy recipe that there’s no reason not to make some for your friends when they stop by to say hi over the next few cold months. Even better if you can share them in front of the fire! We’ll feature another bourbon recipe later today on In the Kitchen With. Stay tuned! — Kristina

About Jen: Jen Altman is a photographer and writer. Her clients include Chronicle Books, Martha Stewart LivingFood & Wine and Kinfolk Magazine, among others. Her first book, Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids, was published in May 2012, while her second title, the fine art book Gem and Stone: Jewels of Earth, Sea and Sky was released in August 2012. Her third title with Chronicle, Photographing Your Children: A Handbook of Style and Instruction, will be published in April 2013. Apart from her editorial work, Jen also owns and curates CISTHENE. Jen has also shared her recipe for the Morocco.

See Jen’s recipe after the jump . . .

Hot Buttered Bourbon
Makes 4

  • 4T. butter (softened)
  • 1/2 t. honey
  • 1/4 t. cloves
  • 1/4 t. ginger
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 c. orange juice
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 3/4 c. bourbon


1. Heat the orange juice over medium heat and whisk in the sugar until it dissolves completely. Let warm on low heat.

2. Meanwhile, mix the butter, honey, cloves, ginger and cinnamon until thoroughly combined.

3. When the orange juice comes to a low simmer, whisk in the butter until it’s melted into the orange juice. Whisk in bourbon. Serve immediately with cinnamon sticks — use the sticks to mix the drink if the butter begins to separate from the juice and bourbon.

Why Jen Loves This Recipe

Having moved to the South last year, I’ve a newfound appreciation for sipping on bourbon . . . and really, consuming anything with bourbon in it. When Kristina asked me to put this column together, my immediate thought was — how can I include bourbon? What resulted is a classic winter cocktail with a Southern bite. This recipe is a little different in terms of composition than a more traditional Hot Buttered Rum, but I find that the flavors meld beautifully this way. And using orange juice instead of apple cider lends a real bite that balances the bourbon nicely.

Suggested For You


  • Buttered bourbon…this sounds delish, something warm after a couple of hours of ice skating or skiing or sledding. And nicely adult. Would it stay warm in a crockpot, I wonder?

  • This looks great! However, I would change ONE tiny thing in the recipe–put the bourbon in the glasses, then pour the mixture in on top. It’s very dangerous to try to pre-heat bourbon or any other alcohol on the stove. If you must warm it, stand the bottle in a bowl of boiling water OFF the stove while you heat up the other ingredients. You can accidentally start a really nasty flash fire in the pan if you add the bourbon while the pan is on the stove.

  • Because of the beautiful photos, I made this drink to treat our winter chill and followed the recipe to the letter. Very sad to say that it just isn’t our drink. Bourbon and orange juice are just too strong. I was looking for a soothing and relaxing warm drink. For us, this one is too acidic and brings on instant heartburn. No fault of the recipe. I’d love suggestions for other warm cocktails.